San Diego, CA— Do you wonder whether there are any legal protections for small group Bible studies in the United States? You need wonder no more. The National Center for Law & Policy is very pleased to announce that we have published an encouraging and informative booklet discussing home Bible studies and small group ministries. The Past & Future of Small Group Bible Studies: The Transformative Power of Small Group Ministry & Its Legal Protections is now available, just in time to celebrate Independence Day.
The genesis of this project was Jones v. San Diego County, a 2009 legal case wherein the county cited Pastor David Jones for holding an “unlawful religious assembly,” also known as a small Bible study, in his home and aggressively threated him with escalating fines and criminal prosecution. This was without a doubt a frontal assault on the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech, which includes the protection of religious speech, as well as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (REFRA). This legal dispute went “viral,” resulting in international media coverage and generating a significant public outcry against the county. The attorneys at the NCLP were very quickly able to achieve a successful legal resolution after San Diego County agreed to clarify its ordinance to exclude Bible studies from its unconstitutional restrictions.
Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). Small group ministry provides a unique and powerful dynamic for spiritual growth and transformation—that’s why Jesus chose 12 disciples into whom to pour Himself. This simple model turned the world upside down. We believe small group discipleship centered on God’s Word, coupled with Holy Spirit inspired obedience and accountability, is a central component of both the past and the future of a vibrant and dynamic Christian church actively participating in God’s kingdom coming and His will being done. This new booklet provides insightful and helpful information covering the following areas:
- The Biblical Foundations of Home Bible Studies
- Jesus’ Example and the Early Church
- Historical Foundations of Home Bible Studies
- Legal Challenges to Home Bible Studies
- Legal Protections for Home Bible Studies
- The Future of Home Bible Studies and the Disciple Making Movement (DMM)
- The Transformative Power and Multiplying Impact of Discovery Bible Studies (DBS)
- The Daniel Protocol: How the Church Will Continue to Flourish under Persecution
This booklet is third of three published by the NCLP to date, which include Voter’s Guide for the Serious Christian and Pastors, Pulpits and Politics: The Case for Clear Biblical Moral Teaching. Our sincere hope and prayer is that The Past & Future of Small Group Bible Studies serves to edify and build the church so that His kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Editor’s Note: To order your copy of any of our ministry resources, please call us at 760-747-4529 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.